An undeveloped area on the so-called Blinzern plateau between Bern’s landmark mountain Gurten and the suburb Köniz that was to be turned into a functionally built housing estate, stands at the beginning of the MUSEUM SAN KELLER. The choice fell on architect Heinz Strub, who finished the building in 1961. It was not until forty-seven years later that its function as a museum was finally defined. Yet, there was no call for tenders, as there were no plans for alterations to the building’s structure. Rather, the building’s function as a residential house was to be extended to include that of a museum, thus bringing two seemingly disparate functions together in one single place. This in fact is in perfect accord with the artist’s idea of combining art and life.

The architecture’s exterior and interior is characterised by a pragmatic approach towards geometry and proportions. The building as a whole as well as its individual parts, such as walls, ceiling, windows and door frames, follow clearly defined proportional patterns. There is an intentional limitation on only a few materials and colours, which is mirrored inside the building. The building’s outer shell almost completely consists of white cement fiber siding and window panes. White walls and parquet floors dominate in the exhibition galleries, the foyer’s floor is made of grey PVC.

Unfortunately enough, the artist could not talk to the architect in order to have the dimensions of the rooms tailor-made to his wishes, as the building was constructed before his birth. It is for this reason that there is no operational concept, for example in the form of a central hall from where the visitors access the exhibition galleries. The exhibition area, however, measures 85 square metres, extending over four and a half rooms, which at the moment is quite sufficient.

Tightly calculated room dimensions, conspicuous by low ceilings, are responsible for the way the interior is perceived, as well as how the visitors orientate themselves within the museum. The impression is that of obtrusive constriction, which, however, is alleviated by a relatively large amount of light. The rooms allow uniform sidelight and artificial lightning, thus providing acceptable conditions for San Keller´s works. There are no plans for staging temporary exhibitions.